You’re acquainted with the song “Wooden Ships” by Crosby, Stills & Nash:
Wooden ships on the water very free and easy
Easy, you know the way it’s supposed to be.
There were well over a hundred wooden boats at the marina in Hessel, Michigan this past Saturday, to participate in the world’s largest annual show for antique wooden boats. A few, like this birch bark canoe, were not technically antique, but every one was handcrafted from wood. (click on any photo to enlarge for detail!)
In a day or so, I will add about 20 more photos, and these, to a new section called “Wooden boats” under the tab “Photos along the way”.
Chris-Craft, Hacker-Craft, and Gar Wood boats, preserved, restored, cherished, and polished to a sheen so smooth and bright I could not actually photograph some of the wood decks…only the reflection of the sky and clouds!
There were over 7500 people to admire and study the boats.
Some types were hugely popular, with multiple variations of the same size and shape…not just in color, but structural differences from one year to the next, and from customization by an owner.
A couple very large boats participated.
Many are “daily drivers”. The one above is a 1940 Chris-Craft, and the owner says he uses it all summer long. He has only one special rule for the grandkids: they must throw their life jackets in ahead, then crawl aboard (so the jacket hardware doesn’t scratch).
This boat is interesting in that the vertical lever at the back controls the rudder, so it can be steered by the wheel up front or from the back. It is unique in that the round control on the right side at the back also contains a duplicate throttle & horn. This was designed as a utility boat to haul cargo, so had the flexibility to be piloted from either end!
Not all boats were fancy schmancy, but they were all beautiful!
This boat was originally constructed in 1895! The small brass wheel on the right side at the back controlled the rudder by lines that run across the deck. The rear lantern was its own work of art….
Speaking of works of art….
The owner of this boat, talking here to spectators, is the son of the original owner. It was bought in 1930 from the boat dealer here at the marina where this show occurred! The father sold it in 1947, but the son tracked it down in 1972 to the boatyard in Connecticut where it had been abandoned, sitting out for 12 years with the engine cover open! He had it restored in Cedarville by the company owned by the salesman who delivered it to the father when new!
This 1936 Gar Wood was restored bit by bit and piece by piece over 25 years by its present owner, who had bought it from the original owner! The original owner had given it to his son, who proceeded to apply a nice green *paint* job….the father promptly reclaimed the boat! The present owner learned boat woodcrafting and applied the knowledge to this project. He eventually had the Hessel boatyard complete the exquisite decking work.
The final boat in today’s post reminded me of the boat I imagine Cleopatra used. Notice that its fenders are woven rope, and they are connected at the bottoms to a line that can be pulled in one place so that they all move aside for travel or drop for mooring. Ahhhhh, all controls at the ready for activation by finger-tip….